Homosexuals and the heterosexuals who love them have a reason to celebrate: Proposition 8, the amendment to the California constitution that only recognizes marriage between a man and a woman, was recently overturned. It's just the excuse we need to give a shout-out to our some of our favorite characters who happen to be gay.
Frank N. Furter, The Rocky Horror Picture Show
Frank N. Furter burst out of the spaceship closet while singing show tunes, the first bisexual transvestite character in science fiction. Oozing sexuality, Frank seduces pretty much every male and female character, either in passing reference or on-screen. When his subordinate Riff Raff mutinies again Frank because his "lifestyle's too extreme," the multitalented actor Tim Curry makes us mourn for the subversive and sweet transvestite.
Sarah Roberts, The Hunger
While the enigmatic Miriam Blaylock plays a romantic ballad for Sarah Roberts after serving her sherry, Sarah asks, "Are you making a pass at me, Mrs. Blaylock?" We assume Sarah is straight before meeting vampire Miriam Blaylock ... but she doesn't stay that way for long. Actually, Sarah spills the red liquid on HERSELF, to give her an excuse to remove her shirt. Later, Miriam says, "You belong to me. We belong to each other." This romantic proclamation is marred by the fact that Sarah is being turned into a vampire and eventually imprisons Miriam. But hey, it was beautiful while it lasted.
Jadzia Dax, Deep Space Nine
Dax is a slug. Really. The symbiont Trill is a wormlike creature implanted in the bodies of worthy hosts. And these bodies change when the host dies and the symbionts are swapped out. So when Jadzia (female) Dax re-meets Torias (male) Dax's wife (formerly Nilani, currently Lenara), their romance is technically homosexual—and taboo, although not over issues of gender: In Trill society, relationships must end with the death of the host. Their forbidden love is bittersweet and all too brief.
Sam Adama, Caprica
Sam likes men, tattoos, his nephew and his Tauron heritage. He also likes knives and uses them when he's working as an assassin for the Tauron mob. But unlike our homophobic Earth-based mafiosi, Sam is married to a man named Larry. Their relationship has yet to be explored in depth, but unless Larry is a hit man himself, we predict serious marital conflict over Sam's choice of profession.
Camille Wray, Stargate Universe
You have to give Camille Wray credit: She says and does what she thinks is right—up to and including mutiny. This has led the tough-minded Camille to lock horns with just about every character she encounters on the ship Destiny. But when it comes to her EXTREMELY long-distance girlfriend Sharon, she's sweet and caring, and when Camille is trapped in the body of a paraplegic (long story), Sharon helps care for her. Camille's tough-mindedness works in their favor: We really believe she'll one day get back to their loving relationship.
The thing about the breathy, gray-scale Chiana is that she demands freedom. And that freedom includes her sexuality. She prostitutes herself when the situation demands, and she flirts with anyone she fancies, regardless of species or gender. Despite a difficult life, which includes rape along with an unrelated sexually transmitted disease, Chiana follows her impulses at warp speed, no matter where they take her.
Dan Williams, Who Wants to Be a Superhero
There are gay and bisexual superhero comic-book characters (John Constantine, Northstar and Mystique, to name a few). And then there's Dan "Parthenon" Williams. In the reality show Who Wants to Be a Superhero, Williams fully embraced his gayness AND his geekiness. Thanks to him, we now know how a gay superhero accessorizes.
Vincent is Eureka's friendly chef and owner of the fabulous Café Diem. When he's not in his restaurant, serving concoctions like Vinspresso ice cream and adding helpful commentary to the mystery of the week, he's ... he's ... not dating. Vincent's romantic life is limited to watching others play out theirs, which is sad, because he's so darned likable. If the writers of Eureka had more compassion, they'd give Vincent the boyfriend—and the screen time—he very much deserves. And maybe even a last name.
Ianto Jones, Torchwood
One of the awesome things about the BBC Doctor Who spinoff, Torchwood, is the treatment of sexuality. Take staff member Ianto Jones. When we first met Ianto, he was secretly trying to revive his dead girlfriend, Lisa Hallett, which says "straight." But then we see him in a relationship with his boss Jack. Ianto eventually falls hard. Jack never seems fully committed to Ianto, but [*SPOILER ALERT*], Ianto's sudden death in the Children of Earth miniseries provides Jack with the deadly motivation he needs to stop the upcoming alien invasion. After two seasons and a miniseries, Ianto Jones, we hardly knew ye. And, sadly, neither did Jack.
Capt. Jack Harkness, Torchwood
If you called Jack Harkness homosexual or bisexual, you would be mistaken. Jack, the head of Torchwood, is without a doubt trisexual: He'll try anything. With his striking looks and his do-good mission to protect Earth, he's also awash in opportunities. They include a flirtation with Gwen Cooper, a relationship with Ianto Jones, a former marriage that produced a daughter, and a passionate kiss with his namesake. Up next for Jack, according to creator Russell T. Davies, "We'll get to see the full range of his appetites." Considering we've seen him in passionate and romantic relationships with both genders, the only unexplored partners for Jack are Weevils.
Tara Maclay, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Tara Maclay came into Willow's life when she needed a friend and fellow spellcaster, but it was obvious from the moment they locked hands for a spell that this was no ordinary friendship. Their relationship wasn't just hot. It was extra flamey. Week after week, we saw Tara's shyness melt away and her self-esteem grow to the point where she left Willow for abusing magic. When she returned, Tara accidentally wound up in the evil Warren's crosshairs. Her death still resonates with Willow to this day, as seen in the Buffy season-eight comic books.
Willow Rosenberg, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Willow Rosenberg is perhaps the most well-rounded gay character in the genre, with years of blossoming from a geeky high schooler into a powerhouse witch. Willow had hints of her sexuality early on, when, as a junior at Sunnydale High, she learned that her vampire self was "kinda gay." When her boyfriend Oz left her to find himself, she found solace in her friendship with Tara ... and then in her more-than-friendship with Tara. Tara's untimely death turned Willow to evil, and after she redeemed and recovered, she was seduced by Kennedy the Slayer. Their relationship continues in the comic book, Buffy season eight, albeit slowly, as Willow wants to keep Kennedy safe.
Lt. Felix Gaeta, Battlestar Galactica
When Mr. Gaeta wasn't the Galatica's tactical officer, he was secretly aiding the human resistance against the Cylons on New Caprica. Through the course of the series, he lost a leg but found his voice. Ultimately, his moral compass did him in: His disapproval of Cmdr. Adama's alliance with the Cyclons led to a mutiny, and he died by firing squad. And did we mention he's gay? Sadly, this character didn't get any prime-time love; his relationship with Lt. Hoshi was confined to webisodes.
Gabrielle, Xena: Warrior Princess
Xena, Warrior Princess wasn't just a TV show: It was a cult phenomenon that kept lesbian bars tuned in every week for Xena Night. The show is about Xena and Gabrielle, two women traveling the ancient world, fighting injustices. Gabrielle started off as Xena's scrappy gal pal, in awe of Xena's warrior prowess, but evolved into the Battling Bard of Potidaea. Despite flirtations with men, and a brief marriage to Perdicus, Gabrielle remained devoted to Xena, as proven by multiple kisses and "I love you"s—and one very butch haircut. And the scene in the finale where Gabrielle saves Xena with a "water transfer" kiss is absolutely the hottest lesbian kiss in the genre.
Xena, Xena: Warrior Princess
Xena was strong, tough, fearless enough to command armies and sultry enough to command the attention of lesbians everywhere (see "Gabrielle"). Although Xena had male lovers, including Julius Caesar, Hercules and Borias, the father of her son Solan, she chose to spend her time with Gabrielle, her friend and companion (then enemy, then friend again). The lesbian subtext between the powerfully built warrior Xena and her more feminine friend Gabrielle was eventually played up to the point where they were taking baths together. Despite the ambiguity that made watching the show a fun yet coded adventure, actress Lucy Lawless decided the lesbian subtext wasn't just subtext after watching that final kiss.
Inara Serra, Firefly
Inara is an official "companion," which is a 26th--century phrase for extremely well-educated, well-trained prostitute. When she's not providing the ship Serenity with a touch of grace, she is embroiled a love-hate relationship with Captain Mal Reynolds. Although most of her clients are men, Inara accepts female clients, like the councilor, who are "extraordinary." She explains that she's able to be herself with women in a way she's unable to with men. And when she and the councilor are themselves, as ship's mechanic Kaylee puts it, "they'll look so glamorous together."
Albus Dumbledore, The Harry Potter Series
Dumbledore is the kindly and wise headmaster of Hogwarts, and his students are so devoted to him that they establish an army in his name. Throughout the years, he's seen to the care of Hogwarts and of Harry Potter. But when it comes to relationships, Dumbledore has no practice experience. He lived as a celibate, his sexuality revealed by author J.K. Rowling only after the series ended. It turns out that Dumbledore's admiration for fellow conspirator Gellert Grindelwald was a heartfelt crush that ended, shall we say, badly. But you couldn't say the same thing about Dumbledore: [*SPOILER*] He sacrificed himself so that Draco wouldn't turn evil. The fact that Dumbledore was gay played no part in his character—for better or for worse.
Lafayette Reynolds, True Blood
Lafayette is foul-mouthed, flamboyant and, of all of the characters here, the least likely to "pass" as straight. He wears makeup, nail polish and earrings ... which he removes in order to beat up a redneck. On the surface, you'd think Lafayette was unlikable because he's a drug dealer; actually he was coerced into it. He's also fiercely protective of the ones he loves. Lafayette is currently in a sweet relationship with his mother's aide, Jesus, but it remains to be seen whether their romance can survive the drug dealing—and the vampires.
Susan Ivanova, Babylon 5
There are three clues that Susan Ivanova, Babylon 5's second in command, wasn't playing it straight. 1) She always turned down Marcus Cole, the hunky ranger who genuinely loved her. 2) She and telepath Talia Winters were friends, and when Talia needed a room, Susan shared one, implying that they were friends with benefits. 3) But the real reason we know Ivanova is gay is that during the Mimbari rebirth ceremony, she says so. "I think I loved Talia."
Andrew Wells, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel
In a way, Andrew deserves to be on this list more than any other character, because if he were real, he'd be reading it for himself. Andrew is a hard-core sci-fi fan, as told by his references to Star Trek and Stars Wars. He also happened to be devoted to Warren, which turned out to be a mistake. (*SPOILER*: Ultimate Evil, in the guise of Warren, convinced Andrew to kill his friend Jonathan.) Later, Andrew's affections shift to Spike. "You're like Gandalf the White, resurrected from the pit of the Balrog, more beautiful than ever." Although Andrew has never had a boyfriend, it's clear from his actions that he's gay. And a virgin.
HONORABLE MENTIONS GO TO:
Adm. Helena Cain, Battlestar Galactica: Seen in a relationship with one of the many Sixes in the miniseries, Razor.
Gus, Tripping the Rift: This cartoon character is in denial, despite hilarious evidence to the contrary.